When I proudly told Yunhyong Kim of Glasgow University this afternoon that, as of the 1st of October 2012, the NCDD website, including this blog, will be archived by the web archive of the Dutch National Library (KB), the first thing she said was: “Is it done properly?” If anybody is allowed to ask that question, it is Kim, who is has been doing research into the preservation of blogs in the EU BlogForever project. – by Inge Angevaare
From Kim’s subsequent presentation I learned that, perhaps not entirely surprisingly, the service I provide to you causes lots of preservation issues. At this conference there has been a lot of talk about “context” – the Who What Where Why and When questions that need to be answered before a digital object can really acquire meaning, and it is exactly those questions that are difficult to answer for blogs. I quote Kim: “Blogs come and go, sometimes they have many authors, sometimes only one, but as the author may change nicknames over time, or published anonymously, context is difficult to determine.”
With her colleagues, Kim is delving in to the “significant properties” of blogs, analysing both the (compound) object itself and the relationships stakeholders have with the object. “In the digital preservation community we do not do enough object analysis,” she said, “to determine exactly what we are preserving.”
At the end of her presentation, Kim suggested that we should look more closely at “non-significant properties”, i.e., the stuff we can throw away. She also indicated that there is a lot of information in the objects themselves which tell you what they were used for. Those could help automate preservation processes. [Link to Kim’s paper with all the details to follow.]
The lively poster session this afternoon highlighted more interest in blog preservation – making me feel a little more relevant as the day went on … J. Carolyn Hank of McGill University is looking into (biblio)bloggers’ interest in preservation.
And, guess what? When Hank surveyed bloggers about the need for preservation, 80% agreed that some type of preservation was desirable. When questioned about who should be responsible and who would be most capable of archiving the blogs, libraries and archives came at the very bottom of the list …